Millward questions O'Donnell attention - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Millward questions O'Donnell attention

By Ben Galvin 03/08/2008 12:20:37 PM Comments (0)

North Queensland coach Ian Millward has raised concerns Luke O'Donnell is being targeted by match officials following yet another contentious call against the representative star during the Cowboys 32-20 loss to the Roosters.

O'Donnell returned to the field after serving a seven game suspension for striking, as well as abusing a touch judge, having an immediate impact as he scored a try in the 23rd minute.

Leading 20-16 and attacking the Roosters' line shortly after halftime O'Donnell was penalised in possession by referee Sean Hampstead for moving off the mark in the play the ball.

"It was a major turning point that Luke O'Donnell penalty - he is entitled to play the ball," Millward said.

"A couple of my staff saw it and they said he was entitled to play the ball."

"If I look at the video I can find someone off side, it is like sometimes we are trying to stop people from scoring."

When pressed on whether O'Donnell, who has long judiciary history, was being targeted by referees Millward believed his star second rower was attracting extra attention.

"I don't know what the issue is with Luke but to me I am not sure it would have happened to any other player.

"Geez, he has just come off a suspension which is debatable, he has come off a few other things which have been debatable.

"We will probably get an explanation on it but it doesn't help us in the heat of the battle."

After 13 straight losses Millward said he hadn't given any thought to next week's clash against the 15th-placed Bulldogs.

"We haven't even spoken about next week being the battle of the wooden spoon.

"We are looking at winning games but we have done it as tough as anyone, we have used more players in the NRL this season than any team."

Millward moved quickly to quash speculation that star halfback Johnathan Thurston would make a return from a knee injury next weekend.

"Definitely not," Millward said.

"He is definitely not playing next week. If he plays I will buy you all a drink.

"That won't be happening because I only get paid on win bonuses and I've got no money."

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